News Abuse

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PRE-VIEWING (5-10 minutes)

1. Ask the class what the news is today. Elicit responses regarding news of various scope and focus (politics, business, entertainment etc). Write down responses on the board.

2. Ask students which of today's news stories are likely to have a lasting effect and which ones will become old and be replaced the following day.

3. Based on the list generated so far, ask the class what they think a role of news reporters (and that of a newspaper) is. Elicit 2-3 responses. Tell the students that they are going to watch a short video about a journalist who does investigative reporting and believes that the role of a newspaper is "to break the news and raise hell." Ask the class to predict what kind of stories this person might be bringing to his readers.

VIEWING & DISCUSSION (10-15 minutes)

1. As a class, watch Craig Flournoy's video.

2. Ask the students how long stories similar to those featured in the video remain "burning issues" and how reporters (and the public) learn about them.

3. Guide the discussion towards sources of serious news. Ask the students where and who they are likely to learn the important news from.

APPLICATION (20-25 minutes)

1. Ask students if they can give examples of other people giving back to their communities. Elicit several answers. Ask what motivates these other people to help their communities. Inform students that they are going to do a quick survey of the class to find out where they get their news and which sources they use for different types of news.

2. Arrange the class into five groups and give out copies of WORKSHEET. Let each group pick the medium they prefer collecting information about.

NOTE 1: For class management purposes, it may be better to allocate a certain amount of time for each group to collect their data. For example, first 7 minutes, the RADIO group goes around asking questions; second 7 minutes - TV group; third 7 minutes – PRINT group, etc.

    3. Instruct the groups to collect information from every person in class, not forgetting themselves. To cover everyone and to avoid overlaps, it is advisable that groups assign who each group member will be interviewing.

    4. After groups finish their data-collecting rounds, instruct them to pull together their numbers and calculate the percentage to enter into their worksheet.

    5. Rearrange the group so that each group now has a representative from each original medium-focused group. Ask them share their data to fill out the rest of the worksheet based on the class totals, and prepare a 1 page written report stating their findings.

    NOTE: If pressed for time, ask each group to report their findings to the class, and as they report, create a master sheet with a class profile.


      Assign students to do self-observation on news consumption, taking notes on what news they heard and which news sources they used during 2-3 day period. A follow-up discussion may elaborate on comparison between news use reported in class and the one observed.

      Report writing may be given as homework, in which case students should also consider its layout and the use of graphics.